User:Mjk38/Joseph Fort Newton

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Joseph Fort Newton
Born 21 July 1876
Decatur, TX
Died 24 Jan 1950
Merion, PA
Resting place Old St. David's Cemetery, Radnor, Montgomery, PA
Occupation Minister, Priest, Author
Language English
Nationality American
Alma mater Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville, KY
Spouse Jennie Mai Deatherage
Children Joseph E. Newton and Josephine Newton

Joseph Fort Newton was born in Decatur, TX, the son of a Baptist minister turned attorney. He was educated at the University of Texas, Southern Baptist Seminary, and Harvard University, where he studied under William James. Newton held the honorary degrees of Doctor of Divinity (Tufts University, 1919), Doctor of Humane Letters (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 1926), Doctor of Laws, and Doctor of Hebrew Literature.

Newton was ordained a Baptist minister in 1895. He held Baptist pastorates in Texas, and lead non-sectarian and Universalist congregations in Illinois and Iowa. While in Iowa, he taught English literature at the University of Iowa. While in Cedar Rapids, many of Newton's sermons were published and gained wide circulation. Their popularity in England lead him to be called to the pulpit of the City Temple (London) in 1916. During his four years at City Temple, he made trips throughout the British Isles and gained international fame[1] through sermons in which he urged understanding between England and the United States as a basis of world order and abiding peace.

In 1920, Newton returned to the United States and assumed the pulpit at the Universalist Church of the Divine Paternity, New York City, NY. While there Newton served as an editor of the Christian Century, edited the Best Sermons of the Year series, and preached at colleges and universities across the United States.

At the invitation of the Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Thomas. J. Garland, Newton entered the ministry of the Episcopal Church in September 1925, and came to the Memorial Church of St. Paul, Overbrook, Philadelphia, PA, as special minister. He was ordained in 1926 at Christ Church, Philadelphia, PA. Newton remained at the Memorial Church of St. Paul until 1930. From 1930 to 1938, Newton shared the pulpit with Rev. Mockridge at St. James Church, Philadelphia, PA. In 1938 he assumed the rectorship of Church of St. Luke and The Epiphany, Philadelphia, PA, where he remained until his death in 1950. In 1939, Newton was ranked among the top 5 Protestant Clergyman in the United States. From 1944 until his death, Newton reviewed religious books and wrote a Saturday sermon column for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. Newton authored over 30 books, perhaps his most famous was The Builders: A Story and Study of Freemasonry, published in 1914, and translated into six different languages. The Builders is still regard as one of the best books on the topic.


Early life[edit]

Ministerial Career[edit]

First Baptist Church, Paris, TX

People's Church, Dixon, IL

Univeralist Liberal Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

City Temple, London, England

Univeralist Church of the Divine Paternity, New York City, NY

Memorial Church of St. Paul, Philadelphia, PA

St. James Church, Philadelphia, PA

Church of St. Luke and The Epiphany, Philadelphia, PA


Marriage and children[edit]

Joseph Fort Newton married Jennie Mai Deatherage of Sanders, KY in 1900.

  • Joseph Emerson Newton (1903– death). AB Harvard. Professor of English, University of Florida. Married Blanche Howard Gaillard.
  • Josephine Newton(1910– death) BA Vassar. Married, first, Clement Warrent Hooven, and, second, _____ Morris.

Death and afterward[edit]

Works by Joseph Fort Newton[edit]

  • Altar Stairs: a Little Book of Prayer (New York: Macmillan, 1928).
  • Brothers and Builders: the Basis and Spirit of Freemasonry (London: Masonic Record, 1924).
  • David Swing: Poet and Preacher (Chicago: Unity, 1909).
  • Everyday Religion (Abingdon, 1950).
  • God and the Golden Rule (New York: Century, 1927).
  • If I Only Had One Sermon to Prepare (Harper & Brothers, 1932).
  • Life Victorious, a Testament of Faith (Chicago, Revell, 1940).
  • Lincoln and Herndon (Cedar Rapids: Torch, 1910).
  • Live, Love, and Learn: a Little Book about the Great Business of Living (Harper & Brothers, 1943).
  • Living Everyday: a Book of Faith, Philosophy, and Fun (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1937).
  • Living up to Life: a Book of Courage, Common Sense, and Compassion (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1941).
  • Modern Masonry: a Brief Sketch of the Craft Since 1717 (Washington: Masonic Service Association of the United States, 1924).
  • My Idea of God: A Symposium of Faith (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1926).
  • Preaching in London: A Diary of Anglo-American Friendship (New York: Doran, 1922).
  • Preaching in New York (New York: Doran, 1924).
  • River of Years: Autobiography (New York: Lippincott, 1946).
  • Some Living Masters of the Pulpit: Studies in Religious Personality (New York: Doran, 1923).
  • The Angel in the Soul (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1932).
  • The Green Light of Masonry (Washington: Masonic Service Association of the United States, 1924).
  • The Men's House: Masonic Papers and Addresses (New York: Doran, 1923).
  • The One Great Church: Adventures of Faith (New York: Macmillan, 1948).
  • The Religious Basis for a Better World Order (New York: Revell, 1920).
  • The Stuff of Life (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1939).
  • The Sword and the Spirit: Britain and America in the Great War (New York: Doran, 1918).
  • The Truth and the Life and Other Sermons (New York: Doran, 1926).
  • The Religion of Masonry: An Interpretation (Washington: Masonic Service Association of the United States, 1927).
  • Things I Know in Religion (Harper & Brothers, 1930).
  • Wesley & Woolman (New York: Abingdon, 1914).
  • What Have the Saints to Teach Us? (Chicago: Revell, 1914).
  • Where We are in Religion (Macmillan, 1945).

Works about Joseph Fort Newton[edit]

  • Heisey, P. H., "Theology of Joseph Fort Newton," Lutheran Quarterly 48(1918): 258-270.
  • Humbertson, R. D. "The Rhetorical Theory of Joseph Fort Newton" (Ph.D. diss, The Ohio State University, 1976).
  • Leonard, B. J. "Joseph Fort Newton: Ecclesiastical Nomad," Historical magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church 50(1981): 299-311.
  • Leonard, B. J. "Joseph Fort Newton: Minister and Mystic" (Ph.D. diss, Boston University, 1975).
  • Martin, E. L. "Joseph Fort Newton: The Man and His Religion" (M.A. thesis, Southern Methodist University, 1930).
  • Wigfield, G. D. "A Study of Four Contemporary Preachers: Conrad, Fosdick, Holmes, and Newton" (B.D. thesis, Chicago Theological Seminary, 1937).
  • Zoller, D., "The Ecumenical Emphasis in the Preaching of Joseph Fort Newton" (Th.M. thesis, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1967).


  1. ^ "J. F. Newton Dies, Pulpit Orator, 73". New York Times. 26 Jan 1950. 

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